NMRA TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout: Jeff Smith Nailed a Holeshot Start to Capture His Second Title!

March 10, 2016

Stick racers compete for a chance to win brand-new TREMEC Six-Speed valued over $3,500

Mustang 360/ Evan J. Smith / March 8, 2016 --TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout

One of the most highly anticipated events during the 2016 NMRA Spring Break Shootout was the TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout, where stick racers compete for a chance to win brand-new TREMEC Six-Speed valued over $3,500. The Stick Shootout is a winner-take-all battle between the top manual transmission racers from QA1 True Street presented by Muscle Mustangs & Fast Fords.

Racers first complete the grueling 30-mile drive and then make the trio of quarter-mile passes. The top two stick racers then get a shot at the TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout crown.

The 2016 battle came down True Street veterans Rick Kaknes and Jeff Smith. Ironically, each was driving a Terminator Cobra, and each had a VMP TVS blower. Kaknes was the low qualifier, scoring runs of 10.15, 9.95, and 10.29, for an average of 10.13. His “black bathtub” convertible weighs 3,700 pounds and uses 22 psi and E85 fuel, along with a TREMEC T56 and a McLeod RTX Twin-Disc clutch.

Smith was not far behind, averaging 10.42 after running 10.47, 10.35 and 10.44. It was amazing that Jeff Smith even made the event consider he broke the car the week prior, and then incurred a garage incident, which smashed his heat exchanger and lower front fascia. But come Sunday, Kaknes and Smith were ready to battle. The pair has combined for many top 10 finishes in the Stick Shift Shootout—Smith scored a win the 2013—it was the first final for Kaknes.

Smith, who was the underdog, was ready to go. “I was a little nervous going into the final because I was racing a very similar car, however, mine is heavier and has an IRS. My competition, Rick Kaknes of VMP Performance has a more race-prepped setup and he makes more power,” said Smith.

When the tree dropped the SVT Cobras screamed from the line, with the advantage going to Smith’s Competition Orange killer. “He got me on the light, and I spun off the line,” said Kaknes. “I had to lift and get back into it big time, and that’s what cost me. It’s racing and anything can happen.”Rick Kaknes - Jeff Smith

Kaknes was behind, but charging hard and the gap was shrinking. The black SVT Cobra ripped to a 10.280 at 142, but it wasn’t enough to get past Smith, who took a .242-second starting line advantage and crossed the stripe with a 10.483 at 137.38 mph. The margin of victory was just 0.039 of a second.

“I raced my own race and got the holeshot,” Smith exclaimed. “It’s the best feeling to beat a faster car, and I could certainly use the Transmission after getting all that damage. I currently run the TREMEC Magnum I won in 2013 and I always use the McLeod RTX Twin-Disc clutch. In fact, they set me up with a RTX 1200 recently,” he added. Smith was not only the 2013 and 2016 Winner, but he scored a runner-up in 2014 and was 5th in 2015.

TREMEC Stick Shift Shootout Qualifying (Top 5)

Position/Name/Hometown/Car/3-run Average

 1. Rick Kaknes, Winter Garden, FL, 2003 Cobra, 10.135

 2. Jeff Smith, Orlando, FL, 2004 Cobra, 10.424

 3. Christopher Schneider, Winter Springs, FL, 1993 Mustang, 10.658

 4. Jeff Bragdon, Safety Harbor, FL, 1988 Mustang, 10.667

 5. Nicholas Carmuck, Spring Hill, FL, 2003 Cobra, 10.972


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